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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


7. Health and Well-Being

7.5 Mental health

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  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Improving the mental health of young people

National strategy(ies)

The Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 8 February 2017 introduced the National Mental Health Protection Programme for 2017-2022 (Narodowy Program Ochrony Zdrowia Psychicznego na lata 2017 - 2022) containing both medical (referring to sick people) and social objectives (addressed to the whole population). The Programme has three main objectives: "providing people with mental disorders with multifaceted care adequate to their needs, conducting activities aimed at preventing stigmatisation and discrimination against people with mental disorders and the monitoring and evaluation of the Programme activities". The Programme targets the whole population. However, its specific objectives include one that is particularly dedicated to the young generation: "providing school children, parents and teachers with guidance and counselling". The Minister of Health is responsible for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the document. However, it is the minister responsible for education that is authorised to act in relation to the above objective. It involves a task that is defined as "the preparation - in cooperation with the minister responsible for health - of institutional frameworks and principles of cooperation between mental health care units and educational institutions, especially with youth care centres". The Programme also contains a task that is delegated to the minister of justice: "ensuring that people in penitentiary establishments run by the criminal justice system, especially in youth offender institutions, have access to mental health care and counselling". It is also local governments that are responsible for the implementation of the Programme. At provincial level their tasks focus on updating provincial programmes aimed at improving availability and reducing inequalities in access to various forms of community mental health care, including Health and Mental Care Centres, and health care establishments for children and young people in individual provinces. Provincial programmes may be an element of regional mental health care programmes and local governments at county level are responsible for "the preparation of a local programme aimed at improving availability and reducing inequalities in access to various forms of community mental health care, including Health and Mental Care Centres, and health care establishments for children and young people in individual counties and municipalities". Under the Programme and as part of the above objective consisting in providing school children, parents and teachers with counselling and guidance, all local government units are expected "to support the development of children and young people through psychological and educational support centres providing school children, parents and teachers with psychological and educational assistance and to provide psychological and educational assistance to children and young people in nursery schools, schools and institutions".

The National Health Programme for 2016-2020 (Narodowy Program Zdrowia 2016-2020) is another document already described. One of the operational objectives of the document consists in "preventing mental health problems and improving mental well-being in the whole population". Some of the tasks indicated in the objective directly target young people (or such targets may be implied due to the specificity of the effect intended): combating children’s and young people’s sexualisation, operating an active policy targeting children and youth through activities and programmes, conducting activities focussing on comprehensive development and developing constructive interpersonal relations, strengthening the mental health potential of children and young people, shaping personalities, personal and social skills, providing support in solving developmental problems and crises, improving resilience and emotional functioning, conducting activities preventing eating disorders due to psychological factors (including anorexia and bulimia) in the population as a whole and in higher risk populations, conducting activities preventing mental health problems in young people in the criminal justice system, in prison populations and in the population of officers and employees of the Prison Service. The minister responsible for health matters - in cooperation with the ministers of labour, family, social security, education, science, higher education and digitalisation - is responsible for the implementation of the document.

Improving the mental health of young people

Apart from the above documents, Poland also operates the Programme for Preventing Depression in Poland in 2016-2020 (Program zapobiegania depresji w Polsce na lata 2016-2020). Although it targets the general public, it also directly identifies the most vulnerable groups, including women who have given birth and young people. The Programme is mainly focussed on prevention and raising social awareness of depression disorders. It is for this reason that the programme proposes a number of information and educational activities targeting school children and women in maternity wards. The document was adopted in 2016 and according to its authors, it is the first systemic nationwide programme for preventing depression.

EDDRA and the system of recommendations endorse programmes run by the State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems (PARPA) and the National Bureau for Drug Prevention, including (1) the Programme for Preventing Social Pathologies among Youth (Program Przeciwdziałania Młodzieżowej Patologii Społecznej) (selective prevention programme for young people aged 13-19 at risk of drug addiction and social exclusion) (2) School Preventive Intervention (Szkolna Interwencja Profilaktyczna) (selective drug prevention programme for school children, proposed as brief intervention made by teachers and/or school pedagogues, (3) FreD goes net (early intervention programme for young people aged 15-21 occasionally using drugs or alcohol).